(St John’s Wort, Citrus, Vitamin C and Rose Hips)

Having experienced the snow and heavy rains so soon this year we are headed for what is classically called the “dark of winter.” This is the time when the ice settles in and stories are told to pass the time and cultures to the next generation. Keep reading and learn how to beat the winter blues with tea, herbs, oils, and other plants.

take away the winter blues with teaMost of my friends reach for St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) for their winter blues but that can be dangerous if taking certain medications. St. John’s Wort is always best taken if prescribed by a Naturopathic Dr or with your Dr.’s ok. My mom’s Cancer Dr. warned us that mom could not have St. John’s Wort as it is known to cancel out important medications. More tests are being done by medical researchers on the evidence of long-term safety or efficacy of St. John’s Wort. See https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/st-johns-wort-and-depression-in-depth

There are plants, teas, and essential oils that can help uplift your mood, answer the question of how to beat the winter blues, and give a little boost to help you get through that bump that is not as aggressive as St. John’s Wort. Let’s take a look at a couple of plant sources that can be a helpful tool during the blahs of winter and learn how to beat the winter blues.

How to beat the winter blues with citrus

Citrus is uplifting energy that our brain recognizes. No matter if it’s through factory sources or the absorption of vitamin C it can change our moods for the better. Vitamin C has long been used for the repair of the body and immune system booster but also helps to uplift people going through the blues.

The link between vitamin C and mood might seem surprising, but people who have vitamin C deficiency often feel fatigued or depressed. Some studies have shown that people who have lower than normal vitamin C levels found that their mood improved after they received vitamin C.”Brent A. Bauer, M.D. See: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/benefits-vitamin-c/faq-20058271  

Citrus is a big source of vitamin C. The smell of oranges or citrus fruits often can be uplifting. I keep a bottle of essential orange oil at my desk and when it’s a rough day I open that bottle up and place some on my wrist and give a little sniff. Lemon in water helps not only cleanses the liver and kidneys and hydrates the body but also gives a nice C boost. 

How to beat the winter blues with Rose HipsIf you want to answer the question of how to beat the winter blues then look to Rose Hips. It is one of the best sources of vitamin C. Locally sourced is always best if possible. I like to gather rose hips in the fall when the rose hips are bright red. And dry them for winter use. Sometimes you can find a good source in the wilds and still gather up to December.

A local Pacific Northwest Rose is the Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana) . I often recommend to friends to grow their own Nootka Rose bushes if they can to ease the collection from local wild sources. The rose hips are a bright red, sometimes a little dark purple-red, and just bigger than a pea. If you missed the gathering season you can order dried rose Hips online, go to any local herbariums, or Russian markets which will have rose hips although not local, but still effective.  These rose hips may be larger and rounder. Here are two ways to make rose hip tea fresh and dried. 

Fresh rosehip tea. When I gather them in the fall I grind them in my blender or bullet just enough to break them up, seed and all. I add ½ a cup to already boiling water and let boil for just three minutes, shut the water off, and let it steep for several hours. I usually make a large pot and then strain the material out and pour liquid into a large 64 oz Ball canning or Mason jar. This goes great in the fridge and can be reheated as needed. The color is going to be a nice juicy red. Very pleasant to the taste. Add honey if you need to sweeten it up. If I am going for the long game, then I will take Rose Hips and dehydrate them. Usually, forty-eight hours to make sure all the moisture is out of fruit leather, but the oils will concentrate. I will store it in two different ways. 

The first way is to store the whole Rose Hips in a jar like you would get at a market. The second way is to grind it again in a bullet or blender till it’s powdered. Once that is done I store it in a mason jar. Now only powder the rose hips if you know you are truly going to use them on a regular basis. Powdered herbs in my experience do not store as long as their natural dried state.

 The ratio for dried Rose Hip tea is 1 tsp to a 12oz cup pour boiled water over Rose Hips let steep for a minimum of 15 min can go longer till nice reddish color. Strain out materials with a fine mesh strainer or if nothing else a coffee filter and a rubber band over the cup or glass jar. While powdered is just as good as Fresh the flavor is not as potent so add lemon, honey, or for a little kick, I also add a small pinch of Cayenne. It is winter and I like the warming effects as well.  

As a mood booster, Rose Hip tea is one of my favorites, but there are other benefits to Rose Hip tea as well. Rose Hips, a good source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and is beneficial for the immune system. Drinking rosehip tea regularly can help stave off the common cold and flu and may even shorten the duration of illness and Rose Hip will be an answer to how to beat the winter blues. Rosehips also contain large amounts of vitamin A and vitamin E, which are good for immunity as well as healthy skin. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29099763/ 

Rosehip tea contains a wide range of antioxidants including polyphenols that can aid human health. Antioxidants can help eliminate free radicals. Drinking rosehip tea may be beneficial for heart health and may help in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Research shows that rosehip extracts work to modulate blood pressure and lower cholesterol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22166897/ 

There are still so many more benefits but I would like to also air on the side of caution as well. In any herbal supplement I take I give my liver a break. I give it a day off so to speak. If I am drinking one cup of Rose Hip tea for six weeks I take one day off.

I never go over two months with Rose Hip tea and that may not be ok for you. Consult your doctor or Naturopath. Do your own research. Pay attention to the signals of your body. There could be side effects if you overdo it long-term or take in too much. The side effects that may appear are dizziness, nausea, and stomach cramps. If you experience itchiness or agitation you may be allergic, stop immediately! 

Always seek the advice of qualified health care professionals. When I see a Dr. I usually inform her of the latest plants and herbals I am working with or about to start. The Dr. will often ask me questions and do her own research and inform me if I need to stop due to some interaction with the medications I am on.

Some sources say two to three cups a day is fine. I trust my body so I usually do one cup a day. If I am feeling blue or under the weather I might bump it up short term to two cups per day but no more. If you found this article helpful and want to keep learning How to beat the winter blues with herbs, teas, oils, and other plant medicine then make sure to read part 2, coming soon. Make sure to also sign up for our newsletter.

Stay healthy friends and don’t forget to be kind to yourself and one another. I hope this article helped answer the question of How to beat the winter blues.

*Wisdom of The Elders does not offer medical advice and strongly urges you to seek the advice of Qualified Medical Practitioners. The information in the article presented is the opinions and experiences of the author. 

2024 Spring ITEK Internship Graduation Celebration

Date: Friday, June 14, 2024
Time: 1 PM – 4 PM (PDT)
Location: Great Spirit United Methodist Church, 3917-3927 NE Shaver St, Portland, OR 97212, USA

We celebrate the remarkable achievements of our Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK) internship graduates. These dedicated individuals have contributed significantly to our mission and have taken diverse paths toward success. Many have joined our Wisdom Workforce Development, LLC Crew, while others have secured positions with our esteemed partners or are furthering their education to expand their opportunities in this vital field.

To our graduates, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for walking with us in this important work. We wish you all continued success in your future endeavors!

Wisdom of the Elders, Inc 2024 Horizontal

Press Release: Update: Kevin Coochwytewa Creates Wisdom’s New Logo

Exciting News! Wisdom of the Elders Unveils Fresh Look with New Logo and Re-brand!

We are eager to finally be able to share with you all our new logo for Wisdom of the Elders!

This new logo reflects our organization’s re-commitment to preserving and sharing the oral histories, cultural arts, language concepts, and traditional knowledge of Indigenous elders, storytellers, and scientists. Join us in celebrating this rebranding milestone as we continue our journey in collaboration with diverse institutions, agencies, and organizations.

While our appearance may evolve over the years, our dedication to Native American cultural sustainability, multimedia education, and cultural reconciliation remains unwavering.

A HUGE thank you to our logo designer, Kevin Coochwytewa (@lightning.kev) (Isleta Pueblo/Hopi), lightningkev.com a visionary artist with a deep reverence for tradition and an innovative spirit. Kevin brings a unique blend of heritage and contemporary flair to his work, and his profound respect for the wisdom passed down by our elders promises to infuse our organization’s identity with renewed vitality and resonance.

Together, we strive for a brighter, more inclusive future for all. ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

Celebrating the Graduates of the 2024 Spring Multimedia Paid Internship Program This June

The Wisdom of the Elders multimedia department has an increadable relaunch of its renowned internship program for 2024. In collaboration with Open Signal, a leading organization in media empowerment, this program offers aspiring Indigenous/BIPOC multimedia professionals a hands-on experience in a dynamic environment.

In late March, a fresh wave of interns lead by KJ Moore (Multimedia Producer) swept into Open Signal, eager to dive into the world of multimedia production. With classes in Studio Production, Cinematography, and hands-on camera training, they eagerly got their hands on the equipment and started to produce amazing content. This cohort, characterized by their quick learning and undeniable enthusiasm, wasted no time in putting their skills to the test.

Venturing beyond the studio walls, they took to the streets, documenting the pulse of the surrounding community and capturing events for Wisdom of the Elders. One recent highlight was the filming of Jeri Moomaw’s presentation—a poignant moment that showcased their dedication to storytelling.

Now, their sights are set on a sacred journey to Tsagalalal (She-Who-Watches), a revered petroglyph in the Columbia Gorge. This excursion promises not only breathtaking scenery but also a chance to honor the land and its history through their lenses—an opportunity embraced by both interns and the Indigenous community alike.

As they gear up for their final projects, slated for presentation in June, the interns are preparing to leave their mark on the multimedia landscape. From film festivals to documentary series, their work will not only showcase their talents but also amplify the voices of the communities they serve.

In the end, this internship is more than just a stepping stone—it’s a chance to make meaningful connections, hone their craft, and tell stories that resonate far beyond the confines of a screen.

Stay tune for more information about the 2024 Spring Internship Graduation in June

A special Thank you to KJ Moore, Tim Keenan Burgess and Open Signal

Community Spotlight: Meet Ayla Hubert: Wisdom LLC, Field Crew Tech

Hi, my name is, Ayla Hubert.

I am a Land Stewardist working with the Forest Park Conservancy (FPC). I believe FPC helps make the environment a better place for humanity. I love working at FPC because it’s outdoors and helps restore the earth to its natural beauty. I enjoy pulling ivy and grubbing blackberry roots. Doing this land work for a greater cause is bigger than me, and it’s a freeing experience for my soul, allowing me to discover who I can become while supporting the earth’s beauty alongside humanity to help the state of Oregon.

I started out with Wisdom when I first returned to Portland, coming out of some difficult times. I began with an internship at Wisdom and, after completing it, moved on to an internship at FPC. Eventually, I was able to return to Wisdom to secure a full-time job working with the LLC Crew.

I love working for Wisdom because I’ve learned a lot about invasive and non-native plants, as well as the first food plants I’ve worked around. Working with Wisdom has shown me the importance of saving and restoring the land to its natural beauty, and how other members of Wisdom have welcomed me. Working with Wisdom is truly a gift for my life experience.

No Dream Is To Small, Reach For The Stars.

New Staff:

We are thrilled to announce our organization’s growth and the expansion of opportunities we can offer to our community. As part of this exciting development, we are pleased to welcome and introduce two new staff members to our team at Wisdom of the Elders.

DAVINEEKAHT WHITE ELK: ENVIRONMENTAL INSTRUCTOR 

(SIKSIKA NATION) 

Hello relatives, my name is Davineekaht White Elk. I use any/all pronouns. On my father/grandfather’s side, I’m an enrolled member of the Siksika Nation in Alberta, Canada, from the Blackfoot Confederacy. On my father/grandmother’s side, I’m Bitterroot Salish from the Flathead Nation in western Montana. On my mother/grandmother’s side, I’m Northern Ute of the Uncompahgre band from Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Utah. On my Mother’s/grandfather’s side, I’m part of the Carrizo/Comecrudo tribe along the South Texas Rio Grande River. They are not a federally recognized tribe in the United States and are fighting for recognition. 

I was born and raised in Portland and grew up in the native community. Most of my Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK) came from teachings from my ceremonial community, learning from my family, elders, and community members. I have cultural art skills, including beading jewelry, sewing/ regalia, hide scraping, leather work, medicine bundles, and tea/slave making. I like to be creative and open to learning new skills. 

I attend Portland State University (PSU), and have earned a bachelor of science degree, double majoring in Indigenous Nations Studies and Environmental Science, and a certificate in Indigenous Traditional Ecology Cultural Knowledge (ITECK). I’m a part of UISHE, the United Indigenous Students in Higher Education at PSU, as their social media manager. I serve on the Portland Urban Forest Plan Community Advisory Committee and Metro Equity Advisory Committee. I have three years of experience in the environmental education field at the Oregon Zoo in 2017, I graduated from the Center for Diversity and Environment Leadership Program. I have seven years of experience working with the Portland Native American Community at the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) in their Youth Education Services. I enjoy being outside with my partner and our little Chihuahua/Pomeranian dog, Sunny, and spending time with loved ones.            

JAE VILES-ERDELT: CREW LEAD 

(CHINOOK INDIAN NATION, CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF SILETZ INDIANS) 

Cheela dv-laa-ha~ Łax̣ayam shiksh!

Howdy, y’all! My name is Jae Viles-Erdelt. I use he/him pronouns. I am a descendant of the Joshua people of the Rogue River, the Sixes people of the Sixes River, and the Pillar Rock people of the Columbia River. I am an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of SIletz Indians, and the Chinook Indian Nation. 

I was born and raised in Eugene OR where I had the good fortune of being raised immersed in my Native cultures that are intrinsically tied to the wisdom that comes from the land. Gathering beargrass, spruce root, cedar bark, hazel, mussels, crab, fish, huckleberries, and camas has had a significant impact on my priorities and how I navigate the world. I have benefited immensely from these relationships and feel that it is my responsibility to enable the same relationships for other Native people. 

For the past three years, I have been lucky to find community in cultural fire. After participating in a few burns, and recognizing the importance of bringing good fire back to the landscape, I joined as a founding member of an all-Indigenous prescribed and cultural fire crew called the Wagon Burners. For the past three seasons, the Wagon Burners have burned more than two thousand acres of prairie oak savanna, and pine woodland in Oregon and Washington. We also had the honor of participating in the first re-entries of fire with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and the Chinook Indian Nation. 

It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life to be able to help my Chinook community bring good fire back to our homelands. Seeing the youth of our community carry the fire and knowing they will never know a time without good fire was incredibly impactful to me. For this reason I am so excited to be coming onto the Wisdom of the Elders team, and doing restoration work with the crew and eventually helping to build a fire program to help bring good fire to the Portland Metro area!

COR Tree Planting Project:

The restoration crew has been working through the downpours, and intense heat of the past month on a project they are very excited to share with you all! Between a railroad track and a waste management facility in North East Portland, the restoration crew planted over two hundred drought-resistant trees and shrubs. 

Oregon grape, madrone, ponderosa pine, cypress, and blue blossom are just a few of the species that they put in. Despite the rough conditions, the crew worked hard knowing that these plants would be vital to providing shade to this community!

Upcoming Projects, Events & Workshops:

Mark your calendars and prepare to embark on a journey of discovery with our upcoming events, projects and workshops. From thought-provoking discussions to hands-on activities, there’s something for everyone seeking to deepen their connection with wisdom and community.

Please take a moment to consider our Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK) and Multimedia paid internships that are offered in the Spring and Fall of each year. They are both listed below. If you or someone you know might be interested, give us a call or send an email and we can further discuss the details. 

We are also excited to let you know that we are in the process of digitizing all of our archived film footage. When this process is completed we will be able to deliver the material back to the families, people, and tribes from which they came. 

Fulfilling the promises made and giving these historical materials back is, and has been, my hope and personal commitment to our extended families and friends. Wisdom has ongoing partnerships with OPB and OpenSignal that will be instrumental in these projects. 

The Film festivals and screenings will be open to the public. We will keep you posted, so please keep watch for the announcements in the upcoming year.

Join Us:

We extend an open invitation to you, dear friends, to join us as we embrace the vibrant energy of spring together. Let us gather wisdom, foster connections, and kindle the flames of inspiration within our hearts.

In the renewal of spring’s vitality, let us find joy and strength, drawing upon the timeless wisdom from our community. Join Wisdom of the Elders on our journey.

All my best to our families and friends,

Teresa,

Exec. Dir.